A mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt has finally had its initial funding approved by President Bush after many years of political battles, and disagreement between NASA and planetary scientists on the best time to visit the tiny frozen world.
The bill, signed on the 20th of February will set aside $110 million from NASA's 2003 budget to be used for the mission dubbed "New Horizons". Pluto is the only planet within our solar system not yet visited by a man made spacecraft.
The mission would launch in 2004, arrive at Pluto in 2015, before moving on to the Kuiper Belt. A further $130 million has not yet been approved from NASA's 2004 budget. In total, the spacecraft, launch, and data analysis is capped at $504 million. http://www.msnbc.com/news/877710.asp?0dm=C12JT